A Bad Option: Opting Out of RPTL Section 487

By Don Hebbard

New York State Real Property Tax Law [RPTL] Section 487, adopted in 1977, provides a 15-year real property taxation exemption for solar, wind, and farm waste energy systems. These energy generating systems are considered to be capital improvements to the real property, and received this exemption from taxation to encourage their construction. The Franklin Town Board has passed Local Law 2-2016, opting out of Section 487. This allows all residential, municipal, and commercial systems to be added to the real property tax base.

This idea to remove the NYS tax exemption was first proposed to the Delaware County Board of Supervisors. Every municipal entity (county, town, village) and all school districts will have to make a decision to continue the NYS exemption, or choose to “opt out.” For forty years, NYS has been offering incentives for residences, small businesses, schools, and municipalities to install solar and wind systems to reduce their energy bills, and often as a personal action to reduce greenhouse gas creation from burning fossil fuels. Continue reading…